Keep Your Hands Off My Gluten-Free Kid

Keep Your Hands Off My Gluten-Free Kid

It’s so easy when I can feed gluten-free food to my gluten-free kid in my gluten-free kitchen, located in my gluten-free house. Where even the dogs are gluten-free.

In case they lick the children.

But when we hit the road and go past Gluten City, just up the road from Gluten Town, a stone’s throw from Glutenville?

Sometimes, not so easy.

So here’s the thing, Gluten World. It would be easier if you didn’t try, on a whim, to make him anything to eat. Gluten-free food can and should be (must be!) great-tasting food. Food to celebrate! And it’s not so hard to do. Not at all.

Unless you don’t know what you’re doing.

I’ll bring him lunch. And you won’t hear us complaining.

He might have a sandwich on these gluten-free hoagies, made mini from my recipe for Gluten-Free French Bread.

Or a turkey, prosciutto and gruyère sandwich on these Gluten-Free Pretzel Rolls, like the sandwich you see up top.

I’m working on even better gluten-free pizza, made with gluten-free bread flour. Gluten-free pizza is going to start at really, really good and go all the way up to killer. Just wait.

You’re throwing a birthday party, and you invited my son. It’s very kind of you to want to try your hand at gluten-free baking and make him some cupcakes with a boxed Gluten-Free mix you found at the market.

It’s just … you can’t dabble in gluten-free baking. Your plastic mixing bowl, wooden spoon and muffin tin? They’re all crazy gluten-contaminated. And since it’s his health we’re talking about, I won’t give him just one cupcake to be polite.

If you’re serving dinner, and you want to learn how to keep him safe, if it’s out of love, let’s talk. If you want to learn the basics, I want to teach you. If not, it’s really really really really okay.

You don’t have to do anything special for us. Nobody owes us anything, just because my son has celiac disease. I’ll make us some individual chicken pot pies, and bring them with me. I won’t mind if you won’t.

And if you do mind, then maybe we’ll just see you around. It’s my son. Keep your well-intentioned gluten-containing hands off of him. He’s only 8.

I can’t keep him in a food bubble forever, but I sure wish I could try. I don’t need your permission, and I don’t want your blessing. He was so sick when he was a baby, it would break your heart if you saw a picture.

For now, I just want to keep him safe.


P.S. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, My Cookbook is a good place to start cooking and baking gluten-free.

Like this recipe?

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  • Rachel
    May 25, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I checked your cookbook out of the library and really liked it. My husband and son are gluten free. However I don’t really love the attitude of this post. I will contine to check the book out or check out the website, but I am not super interested in the semi-offensive tone I just read. Golly, we don’t all have time to be super-gluten-free-saviors and I’m okay with that.

    • Anneke
      May 26, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      The thing is, Rachel, for some of us, if we aren’t super-gluten-free-saviors, our children (and some of us) will get sick. Really, really sick. I am glad for you if you son and husband do not have the reaction that my child (and Nicole’s) have from the tiniest bit of gluten. I am willing to be (and sound) offensive in defense of my kid. She spent once spent five hours throwing up on a bus in front of the entire 5th grade because someone didn’t think it was important that they be a super-gluten-free-savior on her behalf, even though they had promised that they would. That offends me far more than one of Nicole’s posts ever could.

      • Rachel
        May 27, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        Whoa, I get that. I do not have the throwing-up-from-teensy-bits-of-gluten offspring (or husband). I get that you have to be on guard and a super-mom on behalf of your child. I feel deeply for your daughter who had to go through that agony. The thing is this. I don’t think anyone – ANYONE – tries to set your child off – because no one is as informed as the expert parent. And it must be tiring to have to be such a protector. I just want graciousness and kindness to prevail and this post seemed to front people’s efforts with the proverbial middle finger.

      • May 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

        Hi, Rachel,
        You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. I didn’t respond to you originally because, frankly, I had nothing to say. However, this comment of yours comes off as inappropriately dismissive of those of us who are tasked with protecting our children from “teensy-bits-of-gluten.” Although I typically close comments on posts the week after they are published, I had chosen to keep comments on this post open since I thought there might be more to say on the subject. However, given my concerns about this becoming a true distraction, I am closing comments on this post now.

  • May 24, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Bless you for writing this! I feel exactly the same way and want to send this to everyone who wants to try and feed my son out of love but doesn’t understand the damage done and the pain he is in from their efforts!

    • May 24, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      Send it to them, Wendy. Let me be the heavy. I have no problem saying the things that sometimes just seem too hard to say. If they really want to dig in and learn the right way, great! If not, it’s okay. No hard feelings, I say. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • gaile
    May 23, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    This is a great post. I love that you protect your kid. However, only wooden utensils have the ability to retain gluten. plastic and metal do not. Just a comment to make sure people don’t get the wrong idea.

    • May 23, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      Although most plastic is nonporous, knife and utensil marks on plastic can retain gluten. I don’t consider them safe for my son once they have been used with utensils on gluten-containing foods.

  • Michelle N
    May 22, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Thank you for everything. This is my first time to your blog and I added you to my google reader. I bought your book, 115 lbs of better batter, and some USA pans in the past 2 hours. I can’t wait to make a whole bunch of tasty GF foods!

    • May 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Thanks so much for buying the book, Michelle! You’re ready for action.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jessica
    May 21, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Your website has been awesome. I have felt like I am back in control. I have always made good food homemade, and my newly diagnosed 2 year-old threw me for a loop (not him but the diagnosis!). I am making him and us wonderful baked goods again thanks to you. This post was great, too, because people do not understand and maybe wonder why I am asking about the menu in advance. They were also probably wondering why I was crying at a birthday party when my son got excited for mac n cheese but could not have any because no one told me they were having it, so I did not make some for him ahead (it is his favorite food!). He has had skin trouble and tummy trouble since birth, and I am so glad we finally figured it out. Thanks for your recipes and for your messages; I feel like we would be friends (same strange sense of humor), and you have done so much for us without even knowing us! I bought your cookbook to support you and plan to buy the next one! :) Mad love…

    • May 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Hi, Jessica,
      It is such a roller coaster, when you’re trying to save your child from pain and it’s about something as social as food, isn’t it? Thank you so much for buying a copy of my cookbook. I really appreciate the support. And I’m so glad you’re feeling a renewed sense of possibility. That certainly makes it all worthwhile. And I couldn’t do it without you! Love right back atcha. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Karla
    May 20, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    What is everyone’s feelings on eating out at restaurants? If something is listed as GF, do you trust that? Is the general idea that they are using separate cooking equipment to make their GF items? I have heard horror stories like using the same water to cook the GF and regular pasta. Sort of like when people try to order vegetarian items sometimes and are told it’s fine, it just has chicken stock in it. How much do you trust restaurants? I’m wondering if you have the same issues ordering GF off a restaurant menu. My mom will (and she is very strict about eating GF and has not cheated once as far as I know)–but maybe she shouldn’t? It would seem to me there’s more control over family members making it in their own kitchen than a restaurant, so I was curious to know how people feel about that.

    • May 20, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Hi, Karla,
      I tend to be quite conservative. I’m lucky enough to live about 15 minutes away from a restaurant that is owned by a celiac and is primarily gluten-free. When we go out to eat, we generally go there. There are also other restaurants in New York City where we feel comfortable as they have long-standing reputations for serving reliably gluten-free food. Personally, I won’t go anywhere that I haven’t read reviews about beforehand, or have some other independent assurances that the restaurant really understands what they are doing. It’s really about a comfort level. The truth is, if it weren’t for my child, I might be more relaxed about it all. In my mind, eating in a restaurant is not too different from eating in someone else’s home. If the person calling the shots in the kitchen “gets it,” is serious about keeping my son safe, and has controls in place, I’ll try it. If they’re “giving it a try,” and I don’t get the right impression, I’ll bring my own. No hard feelings. It’s such a personal decision. If your mom feels comfortable, I’m sure there are reasons why she feels comfortable.
      It’s an important topic, though. One that deserves attention.
      xoxo Nicole

  • May 20, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    This post hit me hard. My daughter was diagnosed at age 3 last year, and we just celebrated her 4th birthday which happens to coincide with her diagnosis anniversary. It’s been a whirlwind year – I was also newly pregnant at her diagnosis. We’ve accomplished a lot since our early confused days of being GF. Nicole, your cookbook was one of my first purchases. It helped pave our way and I continue to use it a year later. So while I feel confident that our GF home is safe, reading this post made me face the harsh reality I had been avoiding, and that’s certain family members *thinking* they can cook GF for my daughter when they can’t, or won’t allow us to truly educate them.

    It saddens me to say it’s taken a year and this post to trigger this realization, but my eyes are now fully open and so is my mouth, to let those family members know we will no longer be able to eat their food, despite their assurances that everything is fine, and the unspoken assumption that we’re being overprotective and maybe even crazy.

    Get your hands off my gluten free kid is my new mantra.

    Thanks Nicole. I always enjoy your humor but I have to say I also enjoyed this darker side.

    • May 20, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      Hi, Dana,
      I’m honored to have been a part of this first year for you. I can’t really explain how happy I am to hear that you have found your voice when it comes to life outside your safe gluten-free home. Thank you for taking the time to tell me about that. It helps me to know that this post resonated with you, so I won’t be afraid to show my ‘darker side’ again. It’s definitely a big part of me! I just usually spare you that. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • May 19, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    The only birthday party I haven’t taken a treat to was for another little girl with Celiac. That was the best party ever – my child could eat EVERYTHING there.

    When I send snacks to school for parties, I include a list of all the ingredients I’ve used down to the brands. I know most of the other moms (and the teachers) think I’m being super-anal-crazy. There are other kids in my daughter’s class with dietary restrictions (including the other little girl with celiac, YAY!) and I want them to *know* if they should risk eating the treat I’ve sent.

    Somewhat off-topic, but I’m finding 7-8 to be a rough age for this. Last summer I gave my daughter a crash course in label reading so that she could start to take some responsibility for choosing food in a gluten-laden world. I’m finding, though, that knowledge can be dangerous. She’s started to generalize (“Well, I ate a rice krispie treat last week that was okay, so this must be too.”) and has made a few mistakes.

    • May 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM

      Hi, Katy,
      I have also had to explain to my son that he is not old enough to make any judgment calls about what he can and cannot eat. He can read labels and get some idea, but I have to do the research before a decision can be made. We had to learn that the hard way, too. Just when you think you have a handle on things, right? But now my son is more conservative, and for that I’m glad. Thanks for bringing up that issue. It’s an important one.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Julee
    May 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    My “baby” is 17. He is gluten, corn and soy free. It has been tough for him. Bringing your own food everywhere isn’t “cool”. Two weeks ago I held my breath while he went to his senior prom. The upscale hotel where the prom was held did an amazing thing for my son. At my request, they made him a dinner that was safe for him to eat. So he enjoyed a nice dinner with his girlfriend and friends. It sounds like such a simple thing, but to us it was huge. I wrote thank you notes to the hotel staff. Today I was struggling with the menu for a graduation party I am having for my son next weekend. I have relatives asking me if everything has to be ok for him, apparently it is an imposition for them. It is a party for him, in my home, catered by me. I want him safe. I can’t put him in a bubble, I know that. But I want him to know he is safe at home. When I read today’s blog, I cried. Your timing is perfect. Without realizing it you gave me permission to do what I need to do. Thank you.

    PS. I love your book and your blog. Even though we can’t use Better Batter.

    • May 20, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      Hi, Julee,
      Your story about your 17-year-old gives me courage, since my son is only 8. And it gives me hope that my son can have a ‘normal’ prom, if he wants that in 9 or 10 years. ;) I’m so sorry some relatives are not being respectful. I’m afraid yours is not a particularly unique experience. I think that there’s peace in realizing that you don’t need their permission to do what is right for your son. I think that’s where you are finding yourself right now, and I’m so glad.
      And you don’t need to use Better Batter to use my recipes! But it seems like you know that already.
      Thank you so much for posting. It really meant a lot to me.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Anneke
    May 18, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Wow, skip a day around here and all kinds of things show up on the post! I agree with everybody — it is so hard, people mean well, people think they mean well, people think we are crazy, some people get it right, and some people just can’t get it right for whatever reason. I love reading all these comments, because on a day that making everything at home is particularly hard, I just remember Nicole and all her followers. While it is tough to go out in the real world and be GF, it is made a little easier knowing all the rest of you are right there along with me!

    • May 18, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      I know, right, Anneke? You leave us for one day and the whole operation’s in shambles. Even though it can be hard to leave home and stay GF, at least it’s good at home, right? We’re all right there with you. And how. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • May 18, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    As a FOGFLAG (Friend of Gluten-Free Ladies and Gentlemen… I’m still fine-tuning the acronym), I appreciate pertinent information. If I don’t know, I ask. Some people can eat gf-food from my gluten-sticky kitchen, while others can’t. Most of the people I know state what they need, say, “I’m bringing my own food,” and it’s all good. There are a few acquaintances who have a page-long list of foods they can’t have, don’t bring their own food to the gatherings, and then nibble on the foods they said made them sick because hey, it’s only a little bit. It’s their own choice, but it makes me feel badly for all the people who have serious gluten allergies, because it perpetuates the falsehood that a little gluten is no big deal.

    I know I’ve said this before, Nicole, but I really wish there were a chemical test that people could have in their homes for demonstration purposes. We can’t see molecules, but if we could develop a visual demonstration of the gluten molecules, maybe that would help those who were at least receptive to education. I don’t know. There are times I wish I were a chemist.

    (I do have my moments of being a mad scientist in the kitchen, though.)

    I’d love to see this post written up a formal opinion piece and published in the NYT.


    • May 18, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      Farida! You mad scientist, you.
      I love it when you coin a phrase. Or an acronym. You make a really interesting point about people who say they have allergies and then devalue the whole concept by breaking their own rules. It does tend to reinforce the “a little gluten is fine” perspective.
      There is a chemical test! There are test strips that will detect gluten in food, but they’re really super expensive. EZ Gluten makes some, and I think there are other companies, too.
      Oh, and thanks for wishing this could find its way into the New York Times. In my dreams!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Chrissie
    May 18, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    That happened to me today!! My son is 7 months old, daughter is 2. Son had anaphylaxis to peanut on Monday. My policy is you never eat from someone else no matter what. My 2 yr old can’t distinguish between a grape is ok but a peanut is not. So our friend yelled at me that I was a meany when I told my daughter we don’t share food. I was so glad to have read your post yesterday!

  • Chris
    May 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    I ran into a young gal yesterday who was TOLD by her pediatrician to stay off gluten and dairy while breast-feeding her three-month-old…..she told me this about an hour before I saw her eat chicken nuggets and some soft-serve cup thing…..and I was SCREAMING inside!!! She is allergic to many many things and doesn’t appear to care about what she’s doing to herself but I would certainly think she WOULD care about what she’s doing to her baby. I was just sick about it….. How can she not understand??? I’m so glad to read about all the mothers who REALLY DO CARE. My daughter just gave birth yesterday and you can BET YOUR BOOTS AND THEN SOME that I will be watching for all the signs and she will get lecture after lecture if he isn’t growing and gaining normally. Doesn’t part of the job description of “mother” mean doing whatever it takes to protect your child????? Yes, yes, yes…..indeed it does. I’m still scratching my head over the anomaly I encountered yesterday.

  • May 18, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    I LOVE your voice and tone in this post. It is SO true that we moms do NOT mind bringing our child’s food and we wish that everyone understood that! LOVE your site and all you are creating. Thanks for paving the way for those of us who are newer to the gluten-free world. So excited to get your book!! :)

  • May 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    AMEN! Seriously, GRRR I get it. I have a newly DX (Nov 2011) for my almost 2 year old. It started with a pedi not listening and saying he had reflux, then landed in children’s hospital for 2 nights, came out with asthma DX then I asked for allergy testing and came out peanut, tree nut, dairy, soy and we had already taken him GF before any docs started figuring things out. UGG People try to help, but seriously its okay I’ll take care of it. PS, if there was a bubble available, I’d so buy it. regardless…AMEN to your post!
    :) Cindy

    • May 18, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      Oh, Cindy, we could swap stories! You trusted yourself, and you kept pushing ahead. And he’s so little! You do whatever you need to do, and make no apologies. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristi
    May 17, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    I think this post is great Nik. The other issue is the social thing that goes along with GF, that you mention above in a reply. I know there are times that my daughter doesn’t get invited to go out because “she can’t eat there”. There are times she doesn’t get invited to sleepovers because “what would they feed her” and times that we aren’t invited to BBQs because 2 of us eat GF. I have tried to explain that I will pack or bring our food, no worries. I am not sure why this has to be such an issue.

    • May 17, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      I’m not sure why it has to be such an issue, either, Kristi. It sounds like people are going out of their way to inform you of how they decided to exclude you and your daughter, without giving you the option of handling the food yourself. What a shame.
      xoxo Nikki

      • Sarah
        May 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

        Or *maybe* they are so completely confused about what you actually want. Do you want friends? Then be polite. Probably they are not trying to exclude you and your daughter at all, but you’ve gone on about contamination to them so much that they are afraid that their house will hurt your kid. And they don’t want to be responsible for that; because who the heck would?

        *We* are GF; so it’s OUR responsibility to let people know what can work and what can’t. Don’t expect your grandma, or your mom, or even your best friend to understand all the ins and outs of contamination…because likely when they hear of that word they assume that you mean that their home is too dirty and germ-ridden. People that “dabble” are at least trying and they are trying because they do care; otherwise they’d tell you to take yourselves elsewhere.
        But hey, if you’d rather feel entitled by your limitations, you can always be friendless. It’s a free country.

      • Niki
        May 18, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        Sarah, all due respect, I think you are taking the wrong tone here. No one is acting entitled; in fact, Nicole specifically states in the post above that she is willing to teach anyone who is truly willing to learn. I have seen both sides of this fence. My parents are divorced so I have 2 sets of families: one that understands & cares, and one that doesn’t. My dad & stepmom are so careful & understanding that they bought disposable cookware & utensils and cleared a list of food (all ingredients) with me so that my family could have Christmas dinner with their family. My mother served pretzels right next to the carrot sticks, with everyone grabbing at food with their hands, and my sister asked why my kids couldn’t have the dip after she stuck her giant, gluten-filled pretzel into the communal bowl. My best friend knows everything there is to know about cross-contamination & when we go to her house she makes sure that any gluten-containing food is far out of reach and goes out of her way to LEARN what is safe for us. If someone truly cares for you & wants to be a part of your life, they will do those things. Most of those who “dabble” are only making half an effort so that they can appear to be open-minded, when in fact they see you as nothing but troublesome. People who care make it their business to learn about things that could potentially hurt others that they care about; people who don’t see it as a burden.

      • May 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        Sarah- I’m so sorry you feel that Nicole’s post and comments concluded that people were being impolite or feeling entitled to special treatment at the expense of other’s good will.

        To shepherd a child through a life threatening illness is not for the feint of heart. Keeping my child safe trumps worrying about whether I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings.

        I hope that whatever the issue is that caused you to assume facts not in evidence works out for you. No one should be friendless, not even you.

      • Kristi
        May 18, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        Sarah, just for the record, I don’t talk GF much at all. I get bored with it quite honestly. It is usually a short speech: it causes my daughter to have seizures, stunted growth and severe stomach issues. Then I move on by saying how grateful we are that we can eliminate those issues by removing gluten (not a bad fix as compared to meds that they had her on before diagnosis). I turn it positive. I have never given the feeling that people’s houses are germ ridden or discussed cross contamination with someone who isn’t really interested. I just tell people that gluten is hidden in so many foods and with the smallest amount making her so ill that she misses school for 2-3 days, so it isn’t worth the risk. Our good friends who ensure my daughters safety, have even said it is tough. It is the extra step of finding a GF restaurant or prepping a GF dinner and dessert when it used to be so simple. But they love her and do so.

        I am wondering if you could possibly follow your own advice and “be polite” and try for one second to see the other side of it? I find your comments “black and white”. No matter how nice one is, there are times when people don’t want to have to think about a food allergy or making accommodations.

        Nicole isn’t giving anyone license to be rude, she is simply voicing “I got this. You don’t have to worry about my dietary restrictions, I will bring my own food but please don’t feel bad because it isn’t personal it is about the safety of my kid.”

        It is a learning process for all. I expect NOTHING from people regarding our food and restrictions. Many times I don’t even mention she is GF until we arrive and let them know what the deal is. Unless they want a child on the floor seizing, they tend to understand!

        I don’t feel entitled by my limitations. How interesting that you deduced that from my post. But hey it is a free country, so you can feel entitled to put project your feelings on to mine, but I don’t need to accept them.

  • Chelsea
    May 17, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    SOS! Ah – Today I tried the french bread recipe linked to above and was SO careful to follow your detailed instructions. I had to cook the bread for 20 minutes (after the butter stage) and still they didn’t look near as brown as yours. Arg. They feel like baseballs. Did they not rise enough? Whats going on?

    • May 17, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      Chelsea, I would suggest you read my post about how to get gluten-free yeast bread to rise. Since I’m not in your kitchen alongside you, there’s really no way for me to diagnose the problem. I hope you have better luck next time, as it is a tested recipe and will work when made as directed.

  • Karla
    May 17, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I just wanted to respond from the perspective of someone who is a family member of someone with celiac (my mom)–and I also have a husband who follows a special diet and I am diabetic myself. So, I understand special dietary needs, from a couple of different perspectives. My mom, since her diagnosis about four years ago, really talks of nothing but eating gluten-free. Ironically, she does nothing to accommodate my dietary needs or my husband’s! We are constantly walking the line between being insensitive (if we don’t talk about it constantly as well or agree that every single problem anyone has is–in her mind–caused by gluten) and showing our interest and willingness to meet her dietary needs. We can’t win with her! It has been quite frustrating!

    And from the perspective of someone who has her own special dietary needs, which are also related to very serious health problems if not followed, I guess I have to say, I’d rather people be interested and willing to work with me and thoughtful about it. It’s certainly our right not to eat what they are offering–but it’s hard to fault them for being interested and trying. To say that all those well-intentioned people are not really well-intentioned at all…just seems a bit harsh. Yes, I know the stakes are high health-wise. I mean no offense…but those who are really trying aren’t the enemy, which is how it comes across. At least they are interested which is half the battle.

    • May 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      It’s not their interest that I fault, Karla. If you read the whole post, I made clear that if someone really wants to learn how to bake for my son and keep him safe, and it’s with love, I’m happy to work with them. And I’m grateful for their genuine interest. It’s the people who just barrel ahead as if it’s something you can dabble in, without getting fully educated, who should keep their food—and their intentions—away from my son. And I make no apologies for that.

  • May 17, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Wow, I feel for all of you who suffer at family gatherings. My family is completely the opposite. Before Christmas, they call and ask questions about what they can and cannot use, they send recipes to us to look at before they make them. I lucked out on that one. But if I am going somewhere else, I always, always bring my own food. I have a bajillion larabars and such in my purse. If I had kids, I don’t think I could handle the stress and worry.

    My boyfriend’s mom tried making a gluten-free cake for me once, now I always bring dessert. They are much better now about dinner than they used to be – I used to just eat plain lettuce on a paper plate there and eat real food when I got home, but now they buy pasta for me and cook it separately with metal utensils. It only took 4 years of dating for them to catch on.

  • Jenny
    May 17, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    How do I deal with my husband who doesn’t believe in the whole celiac diagnosis and sabatoges my efforts to feed my daughter who has been diagnosed for a year now. He claims since she “doesn’t have symptoms” she can have “regular” stuff sometimes. I have tried to explain, the doctor has tried to explain, we went to an exceptional celiac conference in Columbus, Ohio last October all to no avail. I get so frustrated!!!

    • May 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Oh, no, Jenny. My husband was in denial for the first months, and I honestly muscled right past him and fought him at every step. Talk about a battle you pick! When you’re not the child’s mother, perhaps you have the luxury of denial. I’m sure you’ve explained to your husband that there are, in fact, silent celiacs who have absolutely no outward symptoms but are still at risk for all of the associated health concerns—like certain cancers, infertility, nervous system damage—for celiacs. I’m so sorry he’s making this so hard for you. I’m really glad your daughter has you!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jenn
    May 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    PS- I realized I went off topic a little. We solved the people trying to make food for us thing by becoming the house that everyone goes to for events and holidays. My one friend who is GF told me one day that he loves coming to our house because he does not have to think about what he is eating…he knows it is safe. Family is a different issue that is still taking time to get the to understand…

    • May 17, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      It is so wonderful to be that house for a friend. Her little girl lights up when mom says ‘Of course you can eat that…Miss Shelly made it”

    • Sarah D
      May 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      I have a friend in a similar position. We’re both gf for our kids and it’s so nice to know there’s safe food for them when we have playdates together. I love that I can relax my guard a little for those couple of hours. :)

      • May 25, 2012 at 6:08 PM

        Sarah?! Is that you? I’m so happy to ‘see’ you! If it’s weird to say that I’ve missed you, then I won’t say it. If it’s not weird, then I will. I know that feeling, when you’re with someone who is also GF. It’s quite a load off. :)
        xoxo Nicole

  • Jenn
    May 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Thank you thank you thank you. I have a son that is 2 1/2 and we found out that he has celiacs (like me) when he was about 14 months old. However, there are people who think we over react when it comes to giving him wheat free foods. At Christmas they gave him play-dough (inside I was screaming.. WHY WOULD YOU GIVE THAT AS A GIFT WHEN YOU KNOW HE IS ALLERGIC TO WHEAT!!!!). I asked to make sure that he does not eat it and to make sure he washes his hands throughly if it plays with it when they babysit him. They said we were overreacting and took an attitude…but they are not the ones that have to be up with him all night when he has night terrors (a guaranteed occurance if he has anything with wheat and only happens when he is exposed to wheat foods). He did not gain any weight for over 3 months when he had food with wheat, his nails did not grow and his hair fell out. They don’t understand that wheat is basically posion to us. It may not stop our breathing…but it is still bad…as is avoidable.
    I have loved your site because it shows that there are great gf foods and that you can make them at home. I now make everything at home and my son loves to help. It is a great way to get him involved and have a love of different foods.

    • May 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      The way I say it is gluten is my kryptonite. :-)

  • Darleen
    May 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Terrific! And thanks for the education.
    Question – can I get your cookbook as an ebook? Do far I have not found and prefer paper-free books. I love to use my iPad when cooking and baking.
    If not I will purchase hard copy ;)

    • Anonymous
      May 17, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Amazon has Nicole’s cookbook in e-book form for the Kindle. I purchased it in that form 1st then got the hard copy.

      • Darleen
        May 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        Thanks – I did manage to find finally. I was looking from iPhone and was being troublesome. Got it! Although I do often end up getting hard copy so can get autographed often, and for my collection.

  • May 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    I licked the screen.
    That is all.
    Oh, I think I may need lunch, a properly functioning oven, and another 25 pound bag of BB flour.

  • Niki
    May 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! I have celiac & so do my 3 daughters. I stopped attending family functions bc I got tired of being told I was overreacting, overprotective, obsessive and rude. We only attend parties where the hostess is understanding that we prefer to provide our own food. It is so difficult trying to make people understand that I don’t even want to try anymore. Thank you, Nicole! You are amazing! PS, I couldn’t live without your book & can’t wait for the new one!!!!!

    • May 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      Oh, Niki, if you only knew how well I understand what you’re talking about. I had to endure that many years ago, and the truth is that I had to end relationships over it (well, although after I came to realize that the conflict over food really was emblematic of the entire relationship). You don’t need them to understand. And you don’t need their permission to care for yourself and your family. You really don’t. If you want their opinion, you’ll ask for it. I don’t want to educate anyone who doesn’t want to learn, and I won’t apologize for myself or my family. I insist upon remaining polite, but that doesn’t include compromising myself for the sake of someone else’s mere comfort level. Not a chance. No apologies there. Thank you so much for your support of the book. It helps a lot!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carole
    May 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    You put into words what I have been feeling. I hate being put in the position of telling someone that we are sorry but we can not eat the gluten free cake that they made for us. My daughter was just diagnosed earlier this year and we have only been to 2 family functions since then….and she ended up getting sick 2 times. I am sorry but there will not be a third time if I can help it. I hate hurting anyone’s feelings and it is so hard to look at someone who was thoughtful enough to take the time to think of our special needs. I really do appreciate it….but she can not eat your food. Thank you so much for your words. It is nice to not feel so alone.

    • May 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      I know what you mean about not wanting to be impolite, Carole, but I have to come understand that someone who is insisting that I feed something unsafe to my child is, herself, being impolite. I am respectful, always, and don’t expect anyone to cater to mine and my son’s needs. But that doesn’t include compromising his health for the sake of their feelings. I find it to be hardest when someone is truly well-intentioned but simply naive about what it takes to be truly GF. Although most people have heard of “gluten-free food” by now, I find that the majority still don’t understand that the biggest risk comes from cross-contamination. So I thank them for their efforts, and explain that unfortunately my son can’t eat. If they do it again, shame on them. That’s not naivete any longer. It’s selfishness, plain and simple. You’re not alone!
      xoxo Nicole

  • May 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Can you do a post about keeping a gluten free/gluten full kitchen? We have 3 who eat gluten and 2 who don’t. The dogs are not gluten free so I’d like tips on that too.

    • May 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      I feed my dogs grain-free Wellness food, Fatcat. They seem to enjoy it (something that never ceases to amaze us – how do they summon that kind of enthusiasm for the same old food every day?). I have an entirely GF kitchen because it’s simply easier that way. That was part of my impetus for making GF affordable – so I didn’t have to worry about cross-contamination in my own home or make separate meals.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Emma
        May 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        I also feed my pets gluten free; Before Grain food for the kitty and Nature’s Variety Instinct for the dog. Funny thing – my dog was overly ecstatic about the new dog food for about a month, we think he thought we were feeding him the cat’s food…but eventually he figured out they were just smaller pebbles and now begrudgingly eats his daily ration.

        Fatcat – I have a “nearly” gluten free kitchen. It’s those convenience foods that the gluten eaters in my house can’t give up (granola bars, frozen pizza, hotdog buns…beer). Everything that I make is GF though, if we’re having pasta for dinner it’s all GF, homemade pizza, pancakes, etc. All of our “staples” are GF like flour, pasta, and bread crumbs. Anything that is not is put in the isolation cabinet. ;) Good luck finding the balance that works for you!

      • May 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        Oh, this is definitely my cousin with her little girl!!! Total mama bear when it comes to protecting her gluten-free cub ;) :) Thanks for writing this ;) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

      • May 17, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        Oh Nicole I so hear you … it’s been a struggle with well-meaning family to family that just figure it is too much trouble … we have gone from being very involved and enjoying family holidays with traditions to basically being “outcasts” and/or just not feeling well. I am still working on the “teaching family” the simple basics of cooking completely (no cross contamination) gluten free … and trying to somehow have my mother want to have family dinners again (with adjustments – and if it means I just bring food for us so be it). I find it a lot harder to deal with well meaning family … my boyfriend’s family … and not upset people. I think sometimes this is the biggest struggle of this disease … thank you for your post. :)

      • May 17, 2012 at 3:25 PM

        I agree, Sherri, that the social aspects are perhaps the most difficult aspects of being gluten-free. Food is so social, so emotional. That’s really why I focus on trying to help reestablish “normal” eating. I think it’s the best first step toward healing both body … and mind. :)
        xoxo Nicole

      • May 19, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        You know, come to think of it, almost everything I cook is gluten free. I do buy bread, flour tortillas, pop tarts and cereal for the 2 non-GF people but pretty much, over the past couple of years, we’ve transitioned to almost completely gluten free meals. The gluten people’s toaster is kept on a separate stretch of countertop that doesn’t get anywhere near the main prep area. I do think I need to take a good look at it though and reevaluate and possibly get dedicated utensils?

      • May 19, 2012 at 2:01 PM

        Please don’t follow my link. It’s not worthy.

  • Donia
    May 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Yes yes yes. So very well written. Thank you.

  • Jena
    May 17, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    I have a well intentioned mother who is constantly ‘trying to find something for us to eat’. PLEASE STOP!! She has made my daughter sick on many occasions and the “well there’s no flour in it” argument doesn’t cut it!! I much prefer my sister’s, “I don’t know what to give you, so you’re on your own” attitude. At least she is honest and then I don’t have to worry about my kid getting sick. She spent 19 years with cronic issues and pain, 2 years ‘clean’ and she is happy and healthy and we are NOT going back!

    • May 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      With all due respect to your mom, it doesn’t sound so well-intentioned, Jena. Over the years, it’s become pretty plain to me that people who insist (the ‘no flour in it’ thing kills me) are thinking of themselves. You don’t need their permission, you know? Happy and healthy beats ‘good’ intentions any day of the week.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Marian
    May 17, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I’m crying. Ok I’m pregnant so it’s not a stretch, but I have said this so many times. Letting other people cook for my 5 year old celiac is something I almost never allow. Unless they use my stuff in my kitchen and have read my manifesto (yours is better). Thank you for all you do.

    • May 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      Oh, Marian! Yeah, step away from the pregnant lady with the celiac child. Slowly. ;) I wish I could hug you. I’d hold on tight.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Tammy
    May 17, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    You’re blazing the path – we’re following behind. We’re armed with Better Batter and love – watch out gluten-filled world! My thanks to you for blazing the path, as my gluten-free, celiac son is only 3. I bet we could swap those baby pictures and cry ourselves some tears, if your son looked like mine, I know we would. So thank you for love, dedication and just a bit of satire. Oh, and he says thanks for the fruit loops BTW.

    • May 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Love, dedication and some satire. That about sums it up, Tammy! You’re killing me with the froot loops. Give that little man a squeeze for me! I bet we would cry ourselves silly looking at those pictures.
      xoxo Nicole

  • May 17, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    I have a daughter who is allergic to peanuts and a niece with celiacs … we go thru stuff like this all the time. People think that if they pick the peanuts out it is ok or if they wipe a knife off with a paper towel and then use it to make her sandwich it is fine. I am with you, I don’t mind making sure my child is safe by providing food for her to eat, just don’t try and help when you don’t know the facts. BTW THANK YOU so much for all your wonderful recipes and book … it has made my life so much easier in baking GF items for people.

    • May 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      It’s amazing what we’ll do for our kids, isn’t it, Tracey? I’m beginning to think that those well-intentioned people aren’t really well-intentioned at all. They just want to pretend like everyone’s the same, so they don’t have to go out of their way. Which is fine with me! Don’t go out of your way. I’ll do the out-of-the-way-going. :) Oh, and you’re very welcome.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Michelle O
        May 25, 2012 at 10:54 AM

        There are very few well intentioned people, but a couple. There are also those that are very well intended but just don’t get it no matter how hard they try. We have an allergy list now that is a mile long. There is no having food anyone else cooks. I certainly don’t trust someone else when I don’t even have it down yet. I do however have a SIL that also has an allergy list a mile long and some of them overlap. So there is strength in numbers and support amongst people that understand.

        Even before we were allergen free, I was “let me feed my kid”. I didn’t want him eating junk, I wanted him eating good. As we adjust to our new life, I am well aware that although we don’t have the freedom of eating whatever we want, we have the gift of not having to eat it either. No more forcing down other’s food and being polite. I have an excuse :) and that suits me just fine.

      • May 25, 2012 at 6:06 PM

        I love you, Michelle. You’re crazier than I am. ;) Indeed, there is strength in numbers. At the end of the day, what it sounds like you’re really saying is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to feed your kid how you see fit.
        xoxo Nicole

  • Kelly
    May 17, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    OMG! Its as if I want to print this out and hand it to every mom. I have a newly gluten free son who is already dairy free and a dairy free son. Reading your blog has made me feel that its possible to make these great things and so glad that from day one of buying kitchen stuff in my home that I opted for the prettier (really that was the only reason why at the time) glass and metal mixing bowls. My Mother in law had celiac disease and while my 3 year old’s blood work shows no sign of celiac, the pediatrician said let’s not further do medical testing, let’s just go gluten free for a while and see if it helps. So we’re in the trial phase. Its been hard and easy and harder but hopefully all will be figured out soon and we’ll all be better for it. So thank you for making me feel empowered, making me laugh with your writing and really really taking the bull by the horns in this baking fight for yummy GF foods. You’re a rock star!

    • May 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Those early days can be so hard, Kelly. But I bet your mother in law is a great source of information since she’s already gluten-free. Don’t worry. You’ll get there. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Kelly
        May 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

        Sadly my mother in law passed some years ago and she always cheated, had a little bread here a little bread there, had as and pain and always wondered why. So I KNOW once the holidays come and we’re with my husband’s side of the family I’ll be bringing my own foods and watching to make sure my little guy eats only what I brought. I can recall being so careful for my MIL when I cooked for her. Having a friend with a kid that has a peanut allergy, I know how to keep a clean kitchen and my MIL always laughed at me. She’ so darn lucky she was able to get away with cheating her celiac. For me, this is not an option. If a person has this at such a young age and they don’t take it seriously I can only imagine the ramifications down the road. I will also be trying a lot of your recipes dairy free as we have a double whammy in our house. I really thing the cinnamon toast crunch will be fun to try. If I get it perfect I will 100% share so you can share.

  • abby
    May 17, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    I have the same exact Momma Bear (with claws) sentiments about food dyes and artificial flavors and preservatives. Grrrr to you. Grrrr to me.

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